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First Time Runner

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  • thom g
    Planning on running in this event. I ve done lots of 5 and 10 k s and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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      Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.
    • Brad
      Hey Thom, Great to see your interest! I ve done this event each of its first two years, and love it. :) Am currently at work, so will take more time later to
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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        Hey Thom,

        Great to see your interest! I've done this event each of its first two years, and love it. :) Am currently at work, so will take more time later to respond, but in the meantime, I might suggest purusing Kevin Sayers' UltRunR web site (http://ultrunr.com/). He has a compilation of the "best of" advice on a plethora of topics from the "UltraList" - an international listserv of ultrarunners, including such helpful threads as "What's an Ultra Marathon" and "So You Want To Run Ultras".

        Cheers & God Bless,
        Brad Bishop


        --- In ot100@yahoogroups.com, "thom g" <medic16129@...> wrote:
        >
        > Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.
        >
      • Tommy Doias
        It s a tough one. The race is a point to point so you start and finish 102 miles down the trail. There are easier ones out there but the OT will get you
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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          It's a tough one. The race is a point to point so you start and finish 102 miles down the trail. There are easier ones out there but the OT will get you prepared for the hard ones. Good Luck!
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: thom g
          Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 5:17 PM
          Subject: [ot100] First Time Runner

           

          Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.

        • Joe Miller
          I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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            I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:

            http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/berryman.htm

            --
            "Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."
          • Martie Clark
            It is a great race, the support crews have plenty of food and motivation for you. The biggest mistake I made was not changing my shoes enough, I did my socks
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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              It is a great race, the support crews have plenty of food and motivation for you. The biggest mistake I made was not changing my shoes enough, I did my socks at every drop bag site but not shoes. I would say that you cross a creek of some depth every ten miles. Most of the crossings are shallow, maybe ankle deep. There are two crossings that the water is up to your knees.
              Good luck and have fun.

              On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM, Joe Miller <pilot2doc@...> wrote:
               

              I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:

              http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/berryman.htm

              --
              "Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."


            • Caroline Williams
              I have been there twice.  First time as a runner, and last time as a volunteer.  I tried to sweep the course last October, but the loose rocks covered by the
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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                I have been there twice.  First time as a runner, and last time as a volunteer.  I tried to sweep the course last October, but the loose rocks covered by the leaves made it tough.  It's a tough course.  I would say tougher than Massanutten 100 which I finished barely last May 2010.  One really needs to be prepared and want to finish it no matter what.
                 
                What made it tough for me:
                 
                The sun is right in your eyes--wear a hat or sunglasses.  The first year was unseasonably warm.
                 
                Loose rocks covered by leaves.
                 
                yes, water crossings--be ready for them.
                 
                time cutoffs--I'm not fast, and will work on speed for my next attempt at OT100.  MMT 100 has generous cutoffs (36 hours) and is doable if one is willing to be out there that long.

                last year the course was very well marked compared to the first year, so getting off course (I don't use the term "lost" unless one never finds his/her way back again) was difficult.  But this is a race that's well run with wonderful volunteers.  I would highly recommend trying this race as one would definitely have bragging rights after crossing the finish line.
                 
                Caroline Williams
                Arlington, Virginia.


                From: Martie Clark <kenandmartie@...>
                To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011 8:49:24 AM
                Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner

                 

                It is a great race, the support crews have plenty of food and motivation for you. The biggest mistake I made was not changing my shoes enough, I did my socks at every drop bag site but not shoes. I would say that you cross a creek of some depth every ten miles. Most of the crossings are shallow, maybe ankle deep. There are two crossings that the water is up to your knees.
                Good luck and have fun.

                On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM, Joe Miller <pilot2doc@...> wrote:
                 

                I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:

                http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/berryman.htm

                --
                "Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."



              • David Donald
                Berryman sold out a couple of days ago. If you volunteer, the RD s will hold a 2012 spot for you. Regards, David in St Louis ... From: Martie Clark To:
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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                  Berryman sold out a couple of days ago.   If you volunteer, the  RD's will hold a 2012 spot for you.  

                  Regards,
                  David in St Louis

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:49 AM
                  Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner

                   

                  It is a great race, the support crews have plenty of food and motivation for you. The biggest mistake I made was not changing my shoes enough, I did my socks at every drop bag site but not shoes. I would say that you cross a creek of some depth every ten miles. Most of the crossings are shallow, maybe ankle deep. There are two crossings that the water is up to your knees.
                  Good luck and have fun.

                  On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM, Joe Miller <pilot2doc@...> wrote:
                   

                  I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:

                  http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/berryman.htm

                  --
                  "Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."


                • Andyman68
                  Are you sure Berryman is sold out? I registered on Sunday and the online registration appears to still be open
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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                    Are you sure Berryman is sold out? I registered on Sunday and the online registration appears to still be open http://www.active.com/running/potosi-mo/berryman-50-mile-and-marathon-2011 Also, did not see on the website it was sold out, but I would guess it is very close.

                    I found the OT100 to be the toughest race of my life. I am still feeling the repercussions of it. Make sure you are well-prepared!

                    Andy

                    --- In ot100@yahoogroups.com, David Donald <bigcat48@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Berryman sold out a couple of days ago. If you volunteer, the RD's will hold
                    > a 2012 spot for you.
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    > David in St Louis
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: Martie Clark
                    > To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:49 AM
                    > Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner
                    >
                    > It is a great race, the support crews have plenty of food and motivation for
                    > you. The biggest mistake I made was not changing my shoes enough, I did my
                    > socks at every drop bag site but not shoes. I would say that you cross a creek
                    > of some depth every ten miles. Most of the crossings are shallow, maybe ankle
                    > deep. There are two crossings that the water is up to your knees.
                    >
                    > Good luck and have fun.
                    >
                    >
                    > On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM, Joe Miller <pilot2doc@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > >I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the
                    > >Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:
                    > >
                    > >http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/berryman.htm
                    > >
                    > >--
                    > >"Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."
                    > >
                    >
                  • David Donald
                    I am sure. The race director sent an email to SLUG members a couple of days ago about it. I m guessing she hasn t informed Active yet about reaching the
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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                      I am sure.  The race director sent an email to SLUG members a couple of days ago about it.  I'm guessing she hasn't informed Active yet about reaching the limit.  You may have a loophole to exploit, though you may want to be nice and ask Victoria before you do.     

                      Regards,

                      David



                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Andyman68
                      Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:58 AM
                      Subject: [ot100] Re: First Time Runner

                       

                      Are you sure Berryman is sold out? I registered on Sunday and the online registration appears to still be open http://www.active.com/running/potosi-mo/berryman-50-mile-and-marathon-2011 Also, did not see on the website it was sold out, but I would guess it is very close.

                      I found the OT100 to be the toughest race of my life. I am still feeling the repercussions of it. Make sure you are well-prepared!

                      Andy

                      --- In ot100@yahoogroups.com, David Donald <bigcat48@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Berryman sold out a couple of days ago. If you volunteer, the RD's will hold
                      > a 2012 spot for you.
                      >
                      > Regards,
                      > David in St Louis
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: Martie Clark
                      > To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                      > Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:49 AM
                      > Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner
                      >
                      > It is a great race, the support crews have plenty of food and motivation for
                      > you. The biggest mistake I made was not changing my shoes enough, I did my
                      > socks at every drop bag site but not shoes. I would say that you cross a creek
                      > of some depth every ten miles. Most of the crossings are shallow, maybe ankle
                      > deep. There are two crossings that the water is up to your knees.
                      >
                      > Good luck and have fun.
                      >
                      >
                      > On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM, Joe Miller <pilot2doc@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > >I would highly suggest you sign up for, train for and complete a race like the
                      > >Berryman 50 mile as your next order of business:
                      > >
                      > >http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/berryman.htm
                      > >
                      > >--
                      > >"Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."
                      > >
                      >

                    • McLovin McLovin
                      I ran in the 2009 OT only having ran a couple half marathons but I only made it 26 miles. Had I known about salt pills or making sure to eat enough I would of
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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                        I ran in the 2009 OT only having ran a couple half marathons but I only made it 26 miles. Had I known about salt pills or making sure to eat enough I would of had a better shot. I would definatly get in some longer races and run at night a couple times just so you know what to expect.


                        From: thom g <medic16129@...>
                        To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wed, January 12, 2011 5:17:50 PM
                        Subject: [ot100] First Time Runner

                         

                        Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.


                      • Lucia Alzaga
                        I don t want to be a party pooper, just realistic. I m a seasoned marathon runner and had some 50k in. I had to quit at mile 95 with two hours to go due to a
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 13, 2011
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                          I don't want to be a party pooper, just realistic. I'm a seasoned marathon runner and had some 50k in. I had to quit at mile 95 with two hours to go due to a stress fracture. I had never had a stress fracture before and I'm not in my 50s. So no bone density loss or issues like that. Just too much too soon. And too much in one setting.
                          So good luck with your training and be very careful.
                          Lucia



                          From: McLovin McLovin <mclovinv@...>
                          To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011 4:37:56 PM
                          Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner

                           

                          I ran in the 2009 OT only having ran a couple half marathons but I only made it 26 miles. Had I known about salt pills or making sure to eat enough I would of had a better shot. I would definatly get in some longer races and run at night a couple times just so you know what to expect.


                          From: thom g <medic16129@...>
                          To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Wed, January 12, 2011 5:17:50 PM
                          Subject: [ot100] First Time Runner

                           

                          Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.



                        • thom groff
                          Thanks to all for the responses up to this point.  All of your advice is well taken, so please keep it coming!!  Thanks to all for the responses up to this
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                            Thanks to all for the responses up to this point.  All of your advice is well taken, so please keep it coming!! 
                          • Caroline Williams
                            I would highly recommend running at least one if not more 50 mile events before attempting your first 100.  100-mile event--very different animal.  More
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                              I would highly recommend running at least one if not more 50 mile events before attempting your first 100.  100-mile event--very different animal.  More different than a marathon or even a 50K; and even more different than a 50 miler.  100 is double that.  We all know how to add.
                               
                              After completing at least one 50 mile event I would train on similar terrain (as possible) to get your body used to dancing on rocks, handling hills, etc.  In a 50 mile event also, one gets to know how and what to eat, drink and what supplements to take (S-Caps or Endurolytes).
                               
                              Bottom line, in my opinion, is that finishing a half-marathon, is not going to prepare you well for a 100 miler--especially one as tough as OT100.
                               
                              For a first 100 miler I would suggest:  Lean Horse 100 in SD; Umstead 100 in NC; Heartland 100 in KS.  I tried and successfully finished Umstead 100 in 2005.  I was happy to finish on my first try.  It would have been tough for me to not finish after training so hard, so that confidence of finishing a 100 miler felt great.
                               
                              Have a great weekend everyone.
                               
                              Caroline Williams
                              Arlington, Virginia


                              From: McLovin McLovin <mclovinv@...>
                              To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011 5:37:56 PM
                              Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner

                               

                              I ran in the 2009 OT only having ran a couple half marathons but I only made it 26 miles. Had I known about salt pills or making sure to eat enough I would of had a better shot. I would definatly get in some longer races and run at night a couple times just so you know what to expect.


                              From: thom g <medic16129@...>
                              To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Wed, January 12, 2011 5:17:50 PM
                              Subject: [ot100] First Time Runner

                               

                              Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.



                            • Ken Saveth
                              Caroline:   Very good advice.   You seem to have some good experience, so let me ask you this -   I recently successfully completed my FIRST 100 miler -
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                                Caroline:
                                 
                                Very good advice.
                                 
                                You seem to have some good experience, so let me ask you this -
                                 
                                I recently successfully completed my FIRST 100 miler - Mother Road 100.3 this last November in Oklahoma.  Getting back into it again for 2011, I have found that my left knee is bothering me a bit. Just prior to MR, I had some hamstring issues & then a slight tendon or ligament pain on the inside of the same knee. My doctor did X-rays & there was nothing; she said it was a soft tissue strain. Kenisio tape did wonders & got me through MR (along with Ibuprophen & Aleve).
                                 
                                As this was my first 100 mile finish, could I still be recovering? I have big race plans for 2011 & want to be cautious.
                                 
                                Thanks;
                                Ken


                                --- On Fri, 1/14/11, Caroline Williams <kimchee62@...> wrote:

                                From: Caroline Williams <kimchee62@...>
                                Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner
                                To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                                Date: Friday, January 14, 2011, 7:59 AM

                                 
                                I would highly recommend running at least one if not more 50 mile events before attempting your first 100.  100-mile event--very different animal.  More different than a marathon or even a 50K; and even more different than a 50 miler.  100 is double that.  We all know how to add.
                                 
                                After completing at least one 50 mile event I would train on similar terrain (as possible) to get your body used to dancing on rocks, handling hills, etc.  In a 50 mile event also, one gets to know how and what to eat, drink and what supplements to take (S-Caps or Endurolytes).
                                 
                                Bottom line, in my opinion, is that finishing a half-marathon, is not going to prepare you well for a 100 miler--especially one as tough as OT100.
                                 
                                For a first 100 miler I would suggest:  Lean Horse 100 in SD; Umstead 100 in NC; Heartland 100 in KS.  I tried and successfully finished Umstead 100 in 2005.  I was happy to finish on my first try.  It would have been tough for me to not finish after training so hard, so that confidence of finishing a 100 miler felt great.
                                 
                                Have a great weekend everyone.
                                 
                                Caroline Williams
                                Arlington, Virginia


                                From: McLovin McLovin <mclovinv@...>
                                To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011 5:37:56 PM
                                Subject: Re: [ot100] First Time Runner

                                 
                                I ran in the 2009 OT only having ran a couple half marathons but I only made it 26 miles. Had I known about salt pills or making sure to eat enough I would of had a better shot. I would definatly get in some longer races and run at night a couple times just so you know what to expect.


                                From: thom g <medic16129@...>
                                To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Wed, January 12, 2011 5:17:50 PM
                                Subject: [ot100] First Time Runner

                                 
                                Planning on running in this event. I've done lots of 5 and 10 k's and one 1/2 marathon, but never anything like this any advice would be appreciated.




                              • Brad
                                Thom, Let me start by saying that, if you re serious about this pursuit, there s a lot of learning, work, highs & lows, risks & rewards ahead of you. I m
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jan 16, 2011
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                                  Thom,

                                  Let me start by saying that, if you're serious about this pursuit, there's a lot of learning, work, highs & lows, risks & rewards ahead of you. I'm completely serious when I say that ultrarunning has taught me both new highs, as well as new lows, when it comes to my experiences in life.

                                  Moving beyond a half-marathon is one thing - you can recover from that fully within a couple of days, if not a week. Your first marathon will cause you to walk funny for a couple days. Your first fifty miler will show you what it means for your body to lose its ability to temperature regulate, and what a true calorie crash is. Your first 100 miler will grind your feet to hamburger, give you rashes in places you didn't know they could exist, strip you down to a base reptilian mindset of eat, drink and walk, and affect your energy and moods for multiple weeks.

                                  Yet, it's worth it. (At least, I think it is, as I keep doing it :) The reward of finding out how far you can go - how much determination you have - how well you can manage yourself, and push on when your management fails - the look on other people's faces when you tell them what you've done - the sense of accomplishment - the utter lack of guilt when you get home and eat an entire half-gallon of Haagen Dazs Rocky Road - how much strength you discover inside. Yep, it's worth it.

                                  I started trail running in October, 2008. I ran weekly with a beginner group at a local park, doing 4.5mi every Wednesday. And I'd join in others where I could - 8 miles on Saturdays, maybe a couple 3 milers during the week on my own, etc. I'd run in HS/College, and even done one half-marathon, but nothing more. Always aspired to do the barely comprehensible mountain of a marathon, but never took the time to figure out what that meant in terms of preparation.
                                  I kept going further on weekend long runs, because I liked the people I ran with and they kept going further with me straggling along, never exactly telling me how far we were going, and before too long, I had run 20 miles one day.
                                  Come December, I realized our groups' premier event, a 50k, was coming up in February. I really wanted to do it - so I freaked out to the members asking if it was possible, given my training and the time remaining. The answer was a resounding yes. So I signed up, did a couple more 20 milers, and showed up race day. And promptly locked my water bottle, food, and good shoes in the car at the race parking lot. So I ran the event with what I had - retired shoes, relying on foods I'd never tried stomaching on the run from aid stations. I finished. I bonked big time. I walked at least half. But I finished, with a smile. Couldn't walk down stairs for three days.
                                  Ran my second ultra two months later, a 40 miler. I'd been sick, and my training consisted of a total of 36 TOTAL miles the previous SIX weeks combined. But I wasn't going to back down or quit, which meant a death march the last 16 miles on sore-beyond-belief legs to finish. 3rd ultra in July - another 50k, followed by my first 50 miler two weeks later. Leg soreness to the extreme - I had to learn to drink more. The car ride home was agony - I couldn't sit without some body part screaming.
                                  50k in September. 50mi the first weekend in October. About that time I was reading in Ultrarunning Magazine how so many people were getting their 10-year buckles for completing races so many years, etc, and was dreaming about starting my own streak. Then it hit me that a couple good friends were starting a new 100-miler in my own state, and it would be a great time to start my own streak. But - would I be ready?
                                  Again freaked out on friends for advice, and registered with a shaking hand holding a check out to the RD. Showed up 36 hours early with an aid station crew, spent the whole time nervously pacing & eating, ran, walked, ate, didn't eat, drank, didn't drink, walked, trudged, discovered new aches, pains & injuries, hobbled, and FINISHED.

                                  Long (long, long) story short - it can be done. I also went from never having done further than a half-marathon, to my first ultra in February, to my first 100 at Ozark in November of that same year.

                                  I feel both that I could write pages more on each of the following, but perhaps this post has gone on long enough already. Things you need to learn:
                                  -How, when, what to eat
                                  -Hydration - both water & electrolytes
                                  -How to walk (the average 100 miler involves 40 miles of walking - seriously)
                                  -How to break down such a long distance into mentally digestible chunks
                                  -What to (and not to) wear
                                  -How to use aid stations, drop bags, and other resources
                                  -How to treat injuries that become inevitable with these distances. In just two years of ultra-ing, I have experienced at least one bout with every common running ailment.
                                  -That it never always gets worse. Nothing is more certain than change - if you're feeling great, it won't last (learn to forget this & enjoy it) - if you're feeling like a McDonald's plastic cup lying in the middle of the Interstate being repeatedly run over by large trucks traveling at high speeds, it will change (learn to focus on this when your body is cursing you from many different locations)

                                  You can do it. It's easier with others around you to support you. It's easier if you work your way up to it. It's easier if you focus on one step at a time. It's easier if you ask every question you can think of, no matter how stupid it sounds in your head, but always take all the advice & try it out for yourself before deciding on one particular answer. It's easier if, before you even start, you resolve to finish.

                                  Also, +2 if you actually read all this. Or perhaps it's -2 - my ramblings can easily go both ways. :)

                                  See you on the trails!
                                  Cheers & God Bless,
                                  Brad
                                • Ken Saveth
                                  Awesome post Brad. You obviously have earned the right to post what you did.   I have recently finished my first 100 miler (Mother Road 100.3) this past
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jan 17, 2011
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                                    Awesome post Brad. You obviously have earned the right to post what you did.
                                     
                                    I have recently finished my first 100 miler (Mother Road 100.3) this past November. Since then, I have had a few aches & pains that are lingering. I have posted it here & have gotten some very good advice from Carolyn & Andy.
                                     
                                    I would love an opportunity to talk to you personally on the phone.
                                     
                                    At the moment, I am in Gabon ((West Africa) until February 3rd & live in Tulsa, Oklahoma when I am home. If you want, please respond to me directly at ksaveth@.... That way we can take this off line for those who do not need to follow all of the discussion not related to them. We can then discuss this.
                                     
                                    Thanks;
                                    Ken
                                     
                                     

                                    --- On Sun, 1/16/11, Brad <bishopbr@...> wrote:

                                    From: Brad <bishopbr@...>
                                    Subject: [ot100] Re: First Time Runner
                                    To: ot100@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Sunday, January 16, 2011, 9:31 PM

                                     
                                    Thom,

                                    Let me start by saying that, if you're serious about this pursuit, there's a lot of learning, work, highs & lows, risks & rewards ahead of you. I'm completely serious when I say that ultrarunning has taught me both new highs, as well as new lows, when it comes to my experiences in life.

                                    Moving beyond a half-marathon is one thing - you can recover from that fully within a couple of days, if not a week. Your first marathon will cause you to walk funny for a couple days. Your first fifty miler will show you what it means for your body to lose its ability to temperature regulate, and what a true calorie crash is. Your first 100 miler will grind your feet to hamburger, give you rashes in places you didn't know they could exist, strip you down to a base reptilian mindset of eat, drink and walk, and affect your energy and moods for multiple weeks.

                                    Yet, it's worth it. (At least, I think it is, as I keep doing it :) The reward of finding out how far you can go - how much determination you have - how well you can manage yourself, and push on when your management fails - the look on other people's faces when you tell them what you've done - the sense of accomplishment - the utter lack of guilt when you get home and eat an entire half-gallon of Haagen Dazs Rocky Road - how much strength you discover inside. Yep, it's worth it.

                                    I started trail running in October, 2008. I ran weekly with a beginner group at a local park, doing 4.5mi every Wednesday. And I'd join in others where I could - 8 miles on Saturdays, maybe a couple 3 milers during the week on my own, etc. I'd run in HS/College, and even done one half-marathon, but nothing more. Always aspired to do the barely comprehensible mountain of a marathon, but never took the time to figure out what that meant in terms of preparation.
                                    I kept going further on weekend long runs, because I liked the people I ran with and they kept going further with me straggling along, never exactly telling me how far we were going, and before too long, I had run 20 miles one day.
                                    Come December, I realized our groups' premier event, a 50k, was coming up in February. I really wanted to do it - so I freaked out to the members asking if it was possible, given my training and the time remaining. The answer was a resounding yes. So I signed up, did a couple more 20 milers, and showed up race day. And promptly locked my water bottle, food, and good shoes in the car at the race parking lot. So I ran the event with what I had - retired shoes, relying on foods I'd never tried stomaching on the run from aid stations. I finished. I bonked big time. I walked at least half. But I finished, with a smile. Couldn't walk down stairs for three days.
                                    Ran my second ultra two months later, a 40 miler. I'd been sick, and my training consisted of a total of 36 TOTAL miles the previous SIX weeks combined. But I wasn't going to back down or quit, which meant a death march the last 16 miles on sore-beyond-belief legs to finish. 3rd ultra in July - another 50k, followed by my first 50 miler two weeks later. Leg soreness to the extreme - I had to learn to drink more. The car ride home was agony - I couldn't sit without some body part screaming.
                                    50k in September. 50mi the first weekend in October. About that time I was reading in Ultrarunning Magazine how so many people were getting their 10-year buckles for completing races so many years, etc, and was dreaming about starting my own streak. Then it hit me that a couple good friends were starting a new 100-miler in my own state, and it would be a great time to start my own streak. But - would I be ready?
                                    Again freaked out on friends for advice, and registered with a shaking hand holding a check out to the RD. Showed up 36 hours early with an aid station crew, spent the whole time nervously pacing & eating, ran, walked, ate, didn't eat, drank, didn't drink, walked, trudged, discovered new aches, pains & injuries, hobbled, and FINISHED.

                                    Long (long, long) story short - it can be done. I also went from never having done further than a half-marathon, to my first ultra in February, to my first 100 at Ozark in November of that same year.

                                    I feel both that I could write pages more on each of the following, but perhaps this post has gone on long enough already. Things you need to learn:
                                    -How, when, what to eat
                                    -Hydration - both water & electrolytes
                                    -How to walk (the average 100 miler involves 40 miles of walking - seriously)
                                    -How to break down such a long distance into mentally digestible chunks
                                    -What to (and not to) wear
                                    -How to use aid stations, drop bags, and other resources
                                    -How to treat injuries that become inevitable with these distances. In just two years of ultra-ing, I have experienced at least one bout with every common running ailment.
                                    -That it never always gets worse. Nothing is more certain than change - if you're feeling great, it won't last (learn to forget this & enjoy it) - if you're feeling like a McDonald's plastic cup lying in the middle of the Interstate being repeatedly run over by large trucks traveling at high speeds, it will change (learn to focus on this when your body is cursing you from many different locations)

                                    You can do it. It's easier with others around you to support you. It's easier if you work your way up to it. It's easier if you focus on one step at a time. It's easier if you ask every question you can think of, no matter how stupid it sounds in your head, but always take all the advice & try it out for yourself before deciding on one particular answer. It's easier if, before you even start, you resolve to finish.

                                    Also, +2 if you actually read all this. Or perhaps it's -2 - my ramblings can easily go both ways. :)

                                    See you on the trails!
                                    Cheers & God Bless,
                                    Brad


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